Mahershala Ali Is Living The Stereotypical Black Man’s Dream » VSB

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Mahershala Ali Is Living The Stereotypical Black Man’s Dream

Mahershala Ali has recently joined Michelle Obama, Harriet Tubman, the first Aunt Viv, Marshawn Lynch, and Mufasa from The Lion King as the only Black people with a 100 percent approval rating within the Black community. His recent stretch of standout performances in House of Cards, Luke Cage, Hidden Figures, and Moonlight has been nothing short of spectacular. He doesn’t just steal scenes. He kidnaps and swallows them with a magnetism and subtle electricity dictating that when he’s on screen it’s as if there’s nothing else on it.

He’s also living the dream life of the stereotypical Black man.

This doesn’t mean that Ali is a stereotypical Black man. (You could even say the opposite, that his existence and his work openly and directly defies stereotypes.) Just that he has managed to do literally everything on the stereotypical Black man’s list of Shit I Really, Really, Really, Really Want To Do In This Life, Which, According To My Projected Life Expectancy, Might Only Be Like 47.5 Years. It’s like a focus group comprised of no Black men came together to determine “What Black Men Want” and gave him everything on the list.

To wit, earlier this week it was revealed that Mahershala Ali was actually Prince Ali, a rapper down with the Hieroglyphics crew in the mid-2000s. Which means that, unlike other rapping-ass actors like Idris Elba and Nick Cannon, dude could actually spit. And nothing is more stereotypically Black male than having a budding rap career. It just so happens that Mahershala Ali was/is good at it.

We also know that he played college basketball. And not just “college basketball” the way Lil Romeo and the barber you go to who played one semester at CCAC-Allegheny did, but was actually a D1 scholarship player at St. Mary’s University, the same school that produced Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova. Which means he’ll bust your ass in hoops too. (Not my ass. I’ll cross that nigga up. But your ass.)

He also recently became one of the models for Calvin Klein’s new campaign. And there’s nothing the stereotypical Black man wants more than for women to ogle him while he lays naked on leather couches. He’s basically simultaneously sliding in a hundred thousand DMs without even sending a text!

So let’s recap: He’s an Oscar-winning actor, can rap for real (and had people paid him for it), can hoop for real (and got a full scholarship), has every Black woman on the internet circulating pics of him in his draws, and converted to Islam as an adult — which means he could be in Wu-Tang now if he wanted to too. This is pretty damn stereotypically Black. Good job!

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • That’s Prince Ali??? I know it’s not right to envy people because Kevin Spacey might come to your house or something but yeesh, my dude is winning.

  • Young Olu
    • I’d climb that tree

      • Tam

        Hehehe. Hey Ruby? How goes you?

        • I’m so tired. I want a day where I ain’t gotta do nothing but sleep. Being an adult isn’t fun.

          • Tam

            I know the feeling. This morning I was trying to figure out if it is Thursday or Friday

      • Roz

        So aptly put…

      • cyanic

        I think of tall men as trees too.

    • TheUnsungStoryteller

      SHARP.

  • Madame Zenobia

    Soooo, is living the SBM’s Dream better than the EGOT?

  • Alessandro De Medici
    • BrothasKeeper

      He rhymed “prostrate” with “God’s sake”…..spit hot fiyah!?

      • JBusy

        I expected a smoother, more laid back delivery. Still…living the dream.

  • Brooklyn_Bruin

    Who’s had a better recent run, him or Donald Glover?

    Viola Davis is also in the 100% club, or we holding Suicide Squad against her?

    • BrothasKeeper

      We can’t hold that against her. She was even in a Madea movie.

      • Question

        Yea…can’t hold that against her. Folks need checks.

      • Madam CJ_Skywalker

        Really? Which one?

        • cyanic

          Goes to Jail.

        • BrothasKeeper

          Madea Goes To Jail.

          And now everybody knows I watch Madea movies *covers face*.

          • cyanic

            We have all participated in this. The same as watching anything the younger Wayans brothers did. And the R Kelly golden shower / underage video.

            • BrothasKeeper

              “And the R Kelly golden shower / underage video.”

              I most certainly did not watch that video!

              (….all the way through)

              • cyanic

                Laughs.

            • Mary Burrell

              Had no interest in R Kelly and his antics.

          • Madam CJ_Skywalker

            LOL!

          • Jennifer

            There was a time when we didn’t know any better. Also, there are times when we go home to visit old relatives who watch TP movies and television. It happens.

            • TheUnsungStoryteller

              That’s probably the only time I watch Tyler Perry movies, when my grandmother, aunts or mother are watching it. lol.

              • Wild Cougar

                Auntie, mama nem are a valuable demographic that should be respected.

          • Mary Burrell

            Don’t be shamed it’s okay. It’s a time and place for Madea she can be cathartic at times. Mabel Simmons is alright.

          • SororSalsa

            I saw MGTJ. Hey, Viola wasn’t popping then like she is now. And a TP check is still a check. At least she didn’t embarrass herself like some people do in those movies.

          • Wild Cougar

            There is nothing to be ashamed of. If it weren’t for Tyler Perry showing Hollywood Black media can make millions, none of your favs would be employed right now. Thank TP for the Black renaissance. Go on. Thank him

            • BrothasKeeper

              *grits teef* Thank you, Tyler Perry ?

            • pls

              I only judge white people who “like” madea movies or ask if I’ve seen “that madea movie”.

          • Lea

            lol..Viola is in an upcoming Lifetime movie as well.

            • BrothasKeeper

              You’re not gonna make me watch Lifetime! LoL

    • Madame Zenobia

      Oooooooooooooooh, that’s a good one……tough. I feel like Donald has to get bonus points for shouting out Migos in his acceptance speech. I can’t make a decision tho.

      And while, Viola’s in the 100% club in my book – a lot of folks come for her, the way they did for Kerry on that HTGAWM/negro bed wench/White man love interest/shows Black women in a bad light hotep mess.

      • SororSalsa

        I know people come for her for those wigs, that struggle walk and the drunk dancing on HTGAWM, but Viola goes in. She gives her all to every role. I can’t hate on her for that.

        • Junegirl627

          Viola is 51 years old and she walks in heels that way my 37yo behind walks in heels after 30 minutes. So I always found that walk endearing.. lol

    • cyanic

      She was cast perfectly for a character who is much heavier than she and was voiced by CCH Pounder in the cartoon.

    • ladyfresh

      Donald Glover was the surprise horse.
      I knew and saw Mahershala coming when his projects started getting announced.

      • BenDover

        I’ve been waiting patiently for the Donald Glover love tho, patiently – not surprised at all by Atlanta and how good it is. Just hope he doesn’t run out of steam. We need us some good black tv shows *looks to Issa as well* . With Mahershala, it was only a matter of time, he could be the next Denzel has enough grit and presence to steal scenes or fade into the background when required – key to a great actor that

    • She did well in Suicide Squad.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        That’s like choosing to have soulja boy write your lyrics and saying you had a good flow

    • Mary Burrell

      Folks got to eat I will not hold that against her. She’s a queen.

    • Glo

      He and Donald each had children, too! They’re both winning.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        *doesn’t go there*

        • pls

          LOL!

    • Diego Duarte

      Well, she didn’t do TOO badly on the role of Waller. My only problem with her interpretation is that she came accross too benign and well-intentioned in comparison to how Waller really is. I saw her more of a “the-ends-justify-the-means” and “down to earth” type of character, rather than a villain with an agenda, which is what Amanda Waller is.

  • Dee

    Perhaps he submitted a bucket list to “the no black men focus group” for wish granting. If so, what’s their address?

  • They really shouldn’t have killed Cottonmouth off.

    • He was a great villain. Every time I see Mahershala I think “Benign neglect, HAaaahahaha.”

    • BT

      Thats because he’s going to be John Stewart in the Justice League movies.

      -Speaking it into existence

      • Kylroy

        Please god let it be better than all the other DC movies so far…

        • BrothasKeeper

          DC wants to ensure that they keep their streak of suck åss movies alive by casting Common as GL.

          If the universe wants to hand Mahershala another W, put him in a Spawn reboot.

          • Common was cast in the JL movie that didn’t get made.

            • BrothasKeeper

              My point.

            • BT

              Ugh…

              • Mary Burrell

                I second that

            • Mary Burrell

              Common is a terrible actor

          • Kylroy

            On the one had, it’s combining two things I like. On the other hand, Spawn’s not exactly a major acting challenge. But if Anthony Hopkins as Odin can work out…

            • BrothasKeeper

              Mahershala has range. Imagine what he could do with the anguish of being torn away from his family, forever hellbound.

              • Kylroy

                I’d like to see it. Dunno if Mahershala would want to do it, though.

                • BrothasKeeper

                  RDJ gets $30M everytime he suits up as Iron Man, and he was only an Oscar NOMINEE. If the commas are correct….

                  • Kylroy

                    I’m not sure that many commas are gonna line up for an Image character, though.

                    • BrothasKeeper

                      Watch. After Black Panther drops, there’s gonna be a high demand for Black superheroes (male and female) regardless of publisher.

                    • MysteryMeat

                      I see it coming too

                    • I hope so!

            • Diego Duarte

              HERESY! Al Simmons is a complex and disturbed character and the best anti-hero ever made (IMO)!

          • BT

            Heyll No. Common needs stick to what he knows best, which is stale acting in Rom Coms.

            Ol Cardboard for emotions a** Niycka

            • BrothasKeeper

              He can spit, I’ll give him that, but acting-wise, he’s Black Keanu.

              • BT

                I liked the album Be. But that’s about it.

                • Lea

                  Same here..

              • Question

                Worse.

              • I feel saying this is a disservice to Keanu Reeves.

        • Wonder Woman was the only good thing about Clark v Bruce: Dawn of Justice.

          • KMN

            Agreed…I have such a girl crush on her…and I’ve loved Wonder Woman since Lynda Carter played her

          • Gibbous

            Wonderwoman, coming to a theatre near you. June 2017!

            https://youtu.be/Tgk_63b-Mrw

            • TheUnsungStoryteller

              I’m waiting on Storm, though. That’s all I care about. And she needs to be dark-skinned.

              • Question

                And played by someone who can act…

                • TheUnsungStoryteller

                  I’d give all my hard earned money to see Angela Bassett in that role. I don’t care about anyone else playing Storm, BUT her.

                  • K.D. Andrews

                    PERIOD. She actually IS Storm. Like, in real life. She probably wouldn’t have even needed makeup or wardrobe – just show up on set. Lol

              • Mary Burrell

                Was Halle Berry Storm once I can’t remember?

                • She was Storm one too many times *stares off into distance*

                  • Mary Burrell

                    That’s what i thought, and she was awful as Cat Woman.

                    • It was just an awful movie overall. She deserved better.

                • TheUnsungStoryteller

                  Yes she was in X-Men and she was lackluster.

                  • Janelle Doe

                    The only things I rem about xmen are wolverine and Jean Gray / phoenix

                  • Mary Burrell

                    Yeah she was underwhelming for sure.

              • Lisss

                YASSS!!! With a real west african accent plz! Idk if Lupita could pull it off but she has the looks.

        • BT

          Hey now, I actually like Man of Steel.

      • Catfish Jenkins

        One of the daily rags in Toronto wrote on it saying DC and Warner Bros would be fools if they didn’t get him.

        • BT

          And they would be.

      • Trevante was rumored.

        • BT

          I heard rumors of that. Although I haven’t seen enough of his acting to say if he would be a good fit. Ill let y’all hip me to that one.

          But most anyone would be better than Common or Tyrese.

          • He feels too young. John Stewart has always been like a smooth 35 year old in my head. Someone with experience. Would be interesting to do an origin though.

          • SororSalsa

            I do not understand why Common stays getting acting roles, other than name recognition. He’s got less range than a leash.

            • BT

              Its crazy. My best guess is that its an aesthetic thing, but ill leave that to the people who would be a better judge of that.

    • Duncan Frame

      Too soon.

    • Duncan Frame
      • TheUnsungStoryteller

        That was creepy AF. *chills.

      • Mary Burrell

        I love that

      • Cj

        It’s not even a sincere laugh though. It’s the laugh you give somebody right before you snap their neck. He was soooooooo on point as a villain.

    • Kylroy

      They took this brilliant, multifaceted villain and offed him to make room for the mustache-twirling caricature that was Diamondback. Entire second half of the show, I felt like Shades wanted to just stare directly at the camera and go “can you believe what I have to work with?”

      • KNeale

        Yeah I don’t know if the actor that played Diamondback or if it was overwritten (a lot of the show was) but either way I hated him pretty much from jump. Not in the ‘I hate the bad guy cuz he’s bad’ type way but in the ‘no longer interested in this show’ type way

        • Kylroy

          He wasn’t a well done character, and him coming in just as Cottonmouth left made it all the more obvious. I finished the series because I’m eyeball deep in Netflix Marvel anyway – there was still some good stuff with other characters, but *man* did Diamondback take the air out of every scene he was in.

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          Over written! Purnsley, from Boardwalk Empire, is a great actor.

          • Kylroy

            Good to know the actor has done quality work elsewhere. So, same deal as Electra – good actor, crap writing.

      • ladyfresh

        the second half was better for everything but that

        first half mainly had mahershala

      • Duncan Frame

        The anticlimax of diamondback reminded me of the disappointment of the third blade movie bad guy. Unfiltered disappointment.

      • Karine1976

        I liked Diamond Back precisely because he was mustache twirly and over the top. That said, Marvel has a bad habit of killing off their good villains, Purple Man is another good example. They should slink in their cave to recoup and be available for a future storyline à la Wilson Fisk.

    • KNeale

      I didn’t even finish the second half of show because of it. Made absolutely no sense. And I quickly lost interest.

    • Madame Zenobia

      Please say that again. I hope the have a way to bring him back in flashbacks or something. Shiiiid, let him be a ghost for all I care. It’s a comic book show, they can do that.

    • JBusy

      The actor who played Diamondback had less than mediocre acting skills and a hella grating voice. The post-Cottonmouth the storyline went splat.

      I would have preferred a more simple backstory for Luke Cage and more attention given to Cottonmouth’s development. Mahershala and Alfre were really all we had. Daredevil does this, giving Matt Murdock a straightforward background to explain why he does stupid, heroic sh*t. Wilson Fisk’s character (shoutout to Vincent D’Onofrio) is a far more appealing story and receives deserved attention.

      • Kylroy

        I don’t think anyone could have done good work with a character written that flat, personally. But the actor didn’t help – if I can’t take you seriously dropping Bible verses on people, there’s not enough gravitas on the planet to get you over.

        They’d already done so much work (good work!) on Cottonmouth and Mariah, then to shove it all off to the side for this clown was just painful. Even giving Shades more depth didn’t help.

        • JBusy

          Shades was underwhelming. There was mystery in the beginning, which built suspense. But his inmate backstory and continued coat-tailing made him a typical side kick undeserving of such a cool moniker.

          • Kylroy

            Eh, I liked him. Gotta at least admit the actor was solid.

            • JBusy

              I wanted more for the character. The actor played the part well, but could have been developed a lot better.

      • ladyfresh

        they brought on diamond back and i was like did the casting person go on vacation?
        you can’t just do that to people
        but then mahershala is that dude
        few men could follow

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        That’s the best that the hip hop generation could turn out. Cheo H Coker is hip hop royalty, him and lowercase dream hampton.

    • Jennifer

      Is it true they killed off Cottonmouth so Mahershala could go film a movie?

      Also…Diamondback and his damnblasted Daddy issues were not interesting to me. He was such a disappointing villain.

      • Mary Burrell

        Yeah, my eyes started glazing over when Diamondback came on the scene.

    • LMNOP

      I liked the scene where cottonmouth got killed, which sounds kind of messed up now that I write it out.

      • It was a well done scene.

        • Kylroy

          It was. My only regret is that Mariah didn’t get a chance to dismiss Cottonmouth’s dream of being a musician. (“What good would it have done to have you tinkling away on the stage? My dream kept this family rising, yours would have been pure vanity.”)

    • Janelle Doe

      I keep saying he needs his own show. Maybe the story of Cotton-mouth becoming a villain.
      Or the life and times of Villains (but really just Cotton-mouth and Shades)
      *I hope someone from Netflix or Marvel reads VSB comments.

    • FromTokyo

      That killed the show for me. I kept watching to the end, but I don’t think I’d watch a second season, for more than one reason.

  • I didn’t know about the rapping stuff. But I did hear in the midst of his good press about the St. Mary’s basketball and the conversion to Islam. Yeah, that’s the stereotypical Black man’s dream. He won. LOL

  • Mel

    You forgot to mention that the man can DRESS . He has great style. Yep, checked all them boxes.

    • Kylroy

      And unlike the last clothes horse on VSB’s front page, does *not* appear to be channeling a playboy leprechaun.

      • Jennifer

        *returns to the VSB homepage*

        LOL! Why do you have to talk about The Great Migration like that?

    • HouseOfBonnets

      All white errethang

    • ladyfresh

      omg CAN he!

  • PDL – Cape Girl Shero

    I’m probably the only black woman on the planet happy for his success but not.feeling.him.at.all.

    • Rabs

      You absolutely are! Girl, how coluld you not ogle at this masterful man glowing with melanin perfection. Chile, I literally cannot look directly into in his face when he smiles. Cuz it’s too much to bear all at once. Whoooo *faints*

      • PDL – Cape Girl Shero

        Cackles! More for you then. :)

    • SororSalsa

      I will say that I think I’m more into what he represents and who he is than him, but I do recognize that chocolately goodness when I see it.

      • PDL – Cape Girl Shero

        Hahaha, I can dig it. I’m all for the accomplishments. He’s just not my type.

        • Wise Old Owl

          Why isn’t he your type…

          • PDL – Cape Girl Shero

            Cause he ain’t my type.

            • Wise Old Owl

              Too dark…

              • PDL – Cape Girl Shero

                Yeah, I knew you was tryna go there. Girl bye. While that’s not true cause I like ’em all shades I don’t believe I owe you that. And if he was too dark that would be my prerogative.

                • Wise Old Owl

                  Your type is clear by the gif you posted…yes, Colorism is your prerogative…just like racism is white folks prerogative…many folks from the islands and the Cape are the biggest bigots on earth regarding dark skin and African Phenotypes…just don’t complain about racism from white folks…Remember, it is their prerogative to prefer pale skin over light skin..

                  • PDL – Cape Girl Shero

                    Ya know you got the nerve to come at me WHILE HIDING. Your post is ignorant. Ilike men period….hard working, straight, God fearing, clean cut, oh and chiseled, whatever time of black that comes in…….DASSIT! I don’t owe it to you or any other black person to ride the darkie bandwagon to prove I’m down with black, as in dark skinned. Sorry boo, he just ain’t cute. What color is ugly? Hahahahahha. He looks like an ant eater.

                    Oh, and the colorism crap. That something you big heads made up to have yet another to protest about. It’s simple boo, either ya black or white….period. You’re the one separating based on complexion, tombout dark skin. HE’S UGLY, k? You must be dark skinned? Hahahaha

                    Come out of hiding and post under your real avi……maybe then you can preach at me. Otherwise,Coward Old Owl, keep hiding. I likes what I likes what I likes!!! You tried it tho. One mo time just special for you….hahahahaha

                    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0aca2bf11597edb9f0f4c847edd178f5b19ed8968051aefd5ae0fcece5753e90.jpg

    • Mary Burrell

      No, I think he’s a great actor but as I have stated on previous post thread he looks too much like my deceased cousin. But I am thrilled for his success.

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